Sculpting 3D Print Models With Your Hands

May 23, 2013 | 17:51
Sculpting 3D Print Models With Your Hands
Sculpting 3D Print Models With Your Hands
After decades of being stuck with keyboard and mouse the user interface is finally subject to rapid innovation cycles. Researchers from Perdue University now bring gesture based interfacing to computer-aided design, liberating 3D printer aficionados, game developers and industrial designers from their desktop. At least for the early design phase of their projects.

The design tool called Shape-It-Up allows users to create and modify digital 3D objects with their hands. As the video below shows, the designer is bodily involved in the creation process using three different hand postures combined with motion to create, deform and bend shapes.

Shape-It-Up is developed by Karthik Ramani, professor of Mechanical Engineering at Perdue and colleagues. "Our goal is to make the designer an integral part of the shape-modeling process during early design, which isn't possible using current CAD tools," Ramani told Emile Venere of Perdue, "The conventional tools have non-intuitive and cognitively onerous processes requiring extensive training. We conclusively demonstrate the modeling of a wide variety of asymmetric 3-D shapes within a few seconds. One can bend and deform them in various ways to explore new shapes by natural interactions. The effect is immediate.”

The system uses a Kinect depth sensing camera to track gestures. A set of algorithms interpret the sensor data and transforms the shapes accordingly. For the system to work the researchers developed a technique dubbed shape-gesture-context interplay which they describe in their paper Shape-It-Up: Hand Gesture Based Creative Expression of 3D Shapes Using Intelligent Generalized Cylinders.

Perdue University is working together with the startup company ZeroUI to make the prototype into a marketable product.

Image: Perdue University
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